Princess of Vanga – Sinhabahu
Long time ago, India consisted of many countries. Vanga was one of the countries in India at that time.
The King of Vanga had a very beautiful daughter. Fortunetellers predicted that this pretty Princess would be kidnapped by a lion. One day, when the Princess was traveling to Magadha country (The country where Lord Buddha lived), a lion attacked the caravan near Lala country and kidnapped the Princess. The lion took the princess to the cave where he lived and blocked the entrance to the cave with a huge rock. All effort to find the Princess failed. Years later, the princess had twins, a son and a daughter. The son had hands that looked like a lion, so son was named “Sinhabahu”. (Sinha=Lion, Bahu=Hands) and the daughter was named “Sinhasivali”.
One day, Sinhabahu asked his mother why they are locked inside the cave and why their father will not let them leave. The mother told what happened to her and Sinhabahu was determined to break open the cave entrance. One day when the lion was not in the cave, Sinhabahu pushed the stone and fled with his mother and sister. When the lion came back to the cave, he saw that whole family had fled and he went looking for them. When the lion came to the village, people were fearful of the lion and tried to chase him away. Lion in return attacked people and created panic in the village. After hearing the commotion created by the lion, the King of the Lala country asked Sinhabahu to stop the lion. Sinhabahu went to meet the lion and during the encounter Sinhabahu shot the lion with his arrow and killed the lion. The King of the Lala country, built a city for Sinhabahu, named it “Sinhapura”, and made Sinhabahu King of the city. Years later, Sinhabahu had a son named “Vijaya” who had many violent and mischievous friends. People complained to King Sinhabahu of the deeds of Vijaya. King Sinhabahu decided to banish Prince Vijaya and his friends from Sinhapura. Prince Vijaya and his 700 friends were given a ship and asked to leave. After sailing many miles, they landed in “Lanka” on the same day the Lord Buddha attained Nibbana. The beach that Prince Vijaya landed is known as “Thambapanni” because when they touched the beach, their hands became bronze color.
(First King of Lanka) (550 BC – 512 BC)
When Prince Vijaya and men were in the beach, they saw a dog. One of Vijaya’s friends followed the dog thinking that the dog is from a nearby village. The dog led the man to a yakkini (female devil) named Kuveni. The man saw Kuveni spinning clothes under a tree. When Kuveni saw the man, she came to eat the man. Since Kuveni was not able to eat the man, she threw the man in a nearby pond.
King Vijaya sent another man looking for the first man. Same fate happened to the second man as well. Similarly, all seven hundred men were thrown into the pond by Kuveni. When none of his friends returned, Prince Vijaya himself decided to look for his friends. When Prince Vijaya came near the pond, he saw that there were no footmarks coming out of the pond. Then he saw Kuveni, spinning clothes under a tree. Prince Vijaya said to himself, that this woman is definitely not human. This woman has to be a yakkini (devil). Prince Vijaya asked Kuveni whether she saw his friends. Kuveni answered that she had not seen any men. Prince Vijaya drew his bow and came near yakkini Kuveni.
Next, Prince Vijaya, held yakkini’s hair tightly and said “Give me back my men”. Due to the bravery of King Vijaya, Kuveni’s power was broken and she promised to bring back Prince Vijaya’s friends. Then she did as promised and Prince Vijaya was reunited with his friends. Prince Vijaya and yakkini Kuveni became friends and later they got married. They had a son and a daughter. Years later Prince Vijaya was able to subdue all the yakkas in the country with the help of Kuveni.
Even though, Kuveni did not do any evil deeds, Prince Vijaya’s friends never forget what Kuveni did to them and they were ever fearful of Kuveni. They thought that non-human Kuveni could not be trusted. Due to this reason, Prince Vijaya was forced to ask Kuveni to leave. Kuveni left with her two children to Malaya country. (Central mountain part of Sri Lanka). Kuveni’s children gave rise to the Vedda community in Lanka.
After chasing away Kuveni, Prince Vijaya brought a Princess from Pandu country in India, married her, and became the first King of Lanka. He made “Thambapanni” the capital city of Lanka and reigned for 38 years.
One minister named Anuradha built Anuradhagama.
(Author’s Note: Anuradhagama later became Anuradhapura, which was the capital city of the country for 1,200 years mentioned here in Mahavamsa for the first time).
Minister Anuradha built a reservoir in Anuradhagama.
(Author’s Note: Mahavamsa mentions construction of a reservoir for the first time. The reservoir built by minister Anuradha has not been positively identified.)
Ministers Uruwela, Vijitha and Upatissa built villages and named them after their names. (Upatissa Gama later became Panduwas Nuwara).
King Vijaya gave up his early playful life, became a responsible King, and ruled the country justly. King Vijaya did not have any sons and was very concerned of the kingdom after him. He sent a messenger to “Sinhapura” to ask his brother Sumitta to accept the kingdom of Lanka after him. Sumitta refused since he was also old and sent his son Prince “Panduvasdev” to accept the kingdom of Lanka after King Vijaya.